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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Sep 5, 2010 12:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: GD at Harding Theatre - 11/07/71 - "radio signal is faster than in the Hall"

We put together a list of FM broadcast shows that GD did. That's a lot of shows. Then I put together a posting about GD and Edwin H. Armstrong - the Father of FM radio. I worked at Armstrong Tower.

In that thread JOTS had asked me, "Can you answer if it's true what the band claims of 11-7-71 Harding Theater about the sound reaching the audience through the radio faster than in the hall? I have a hard time buying it." My answer was insufficient, and it was removed. I just wrote a better one today. It makes sense to anyone reading it.

Today I finally listened to the 11-7-71 Harding Theatre SBD Intro track. Jer says, "If you're sitting at home next to your radio, you're hearing the music faster than you are if you're in the hall. That's an interesting but true..." Bob says, "We won't bore you with lengthy explanations of this phenomenon." Then they shake out the last feedback tones in the PA system and the monitors. The sound crew are setting the equalizers, mix levels, and amps to eliminate feedback and optimize the sound.

The boys had a split-feed going off the SBD. This, of course, was common practice (feed A goes to the PA system, feed B goes to the monitors, feed C goes to the Betty Board). The PA feed is getting delayed as it goes through each device. There are equalizers, mixers, limiters, crossovers, amps, and the PA system. Sound boards have effects "send" and "return" feeds. Each device adds a slight time delay to the electronic signal. The total signal delay inside Harding Theatre is more than the signal delay of the raw unequalized audio signal mix being fed to a live shot that is microwaved directly to the radio station's FM transmitter.

There is only one way that a delay like what they describe could be noticed by anyone. You can see it with an audio signal test generator being fed into the system. Then you can measure the time differential on a 2-channel oscilloscope with the 2 different signals from the split-feed. The SBD mix fed to your FM radio was a few hundred microseconds faster than the SBD mix fed to the PA to the crowd.

Jerry and Bob were discussing this, and they are recorded on the tapes. Phil is also interesting. They're all howling like wolves to kill the feedback. I'll venture a guess that the FM radio station engineers and GD band and sound crew were making this technical rap about signal delays earlier in the day. The equipment setup and its shakedown would have taken some time to nail down before the show. GD put on a great performance.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Sep 5, 2010 1:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: GD at Harding Theatre - 11/07/71 - 'radio signal is faster than in the Hall'

Harding has some of the best banter of all...and they allowed so much of it to remain, along with LONG stretches of classic DEAD nothingness that newbies always complained about, in the original circulating tapes. Along with 8/6/71 and 7/2/71, these three shows were considered absolute top five "must haves" through the 70s simply because we had so few high quality sounding shows to trade back then, on the West Coast at least...it really didn't explode with shows for us til the late 70s. Strange that the Skull&roses soundtrack was what was most represented, so to speak, via those shows, to most everyone.

Must have missed the JOTS query; he's such a skeptic. Working in a band on the mixing board very quickly makes one realize that there are all sorts of issues with respect to "time" when one is mixing, broadcasting, recording, listening, and of course, "playing"...though I couldn't do any of those, aside from listening, with any degree of skill, they kept me around because I could lift two speakers, and drove a truck.

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Sep 6, 2010 8:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: GD at Harding Theatre - 11/07/71 - 'radio signal is faster than in the Hall'

Thanks for the tech post, Monte! On the topic of delay in music, this reminds me of the delay that needs to be accounted for in making matrix recordings.

I find the concept of sound propagation through air to be a very interesting concept.. That aspect of sound reproduction is often lost in the SBD recordings unless the soundman had integrated a room mic into the mix, as they sometimes did (Anthem sessions in early 68 as described by lia, Live/Dead recording in early 69, Healy Ultramix from the 80's, and I'm sure there are many more instances). Incorporating the way the sound waves move and interact with the ambience of the room gives the most accurate representation of what the music sounded like to the listener in the hall, for better or for worse. Depends on where you were in the hall as well, of course, as I've read in many reviews the recordings seem to sound much better than what the listener heard in person.

Either way, a good matrix is really something and takes the listening experience to a whole new level. I find this discussion and especially the comments about making a matrix mix for a 5.1 surround sound system really intriguing: http://tinyurl.com/286x59g

This post was modified by deadpolitics on 2010-09-06 15:13:17

This post was modified by deadpolitics on 2010-09-06 15:27:31

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Poster: Jack o' Roses Date: Sep 5, 2010 1:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: GD at Harding Theatre - 11/07/71 - Quadraphonic sound

I like your essays & the spirit with which you share live music.

PS (to all)
Do we have any of 10/4/70 - broadcast live by KQED and KSAN, San Francisco in 4/5.1 Surround sound or for the whiz kids to matrix-ize?
Does anyone know of any old 4 channel stuff otherwise??

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Poster: William Tell Date: Sep 6, 2010 8:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: GD at Harding Theatre - 11/07/71 - Quadraphonic sound

Ummm, not sure I follow...you do know there are three versions here, right?


This is also the show that furnishes the UJB for the "expanded" Workingman's Dead CD...liner notes are wrong.

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Poster: Capt. Cook Date: Sep 5, 2010 5:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: GD at Harding Theatre - 11/07/71 - 'radio signal is faster than in the Hall'

Really, I have found the best part about being in a band is shit just like this - the setting up of equipment and the noodling around on stage before and during sound checks - everybody is in a good mood, the show is always a Great Event about to happen and the vibe is about just hanging out - girlfriends, boyfriends, roadies, family, dealers and hangers-ons the whole scene is just ozzing with a closeness that can really define a band - If your feeling pissed off at soundcheck you can be sure the night is set to unravel, unless something magical occurs...